Under Pressure Film Screening!

Wednesday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Original film examines Merrimack Valley Columbia Gas Disaster

handout Under Pressure_custom

On Wednesday evening, November 20, the North Quabbin Energy citizens group, in collaboration with Massachusetts Sierra Club and the Friends of the Athol Public Library, will offer a one-time free screening of “Under Pressure” at the Athol Public Library, located at 568 Main Street, Athol. The event starts at 6:30 pm.

This original film by Western Massachusetts high school students describes and analyzes the September 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions that severely affected three Eastern Massachusetts communities. The costs were high: one death, 25 injuries, thousands of residents in three towns evacuated, and over 100 structures destroyed, with around $1 billion in damages.

Why did this disaster happen, and could it happen again? These were some of the questions asked by a team of seniors from the Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield who chose the disaster and its difficult aftermath as the focus of their 2019 senior film project.

In teams, the students researched, wrote, and filmed, interviewing explosion victims, first responders, business owners, elected officials, scientists, utility representatives, and activists. Greenfield Community Television partnered with equipment and training.

In just ten weeks the new filmmakers produced a documentary that received the state office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Award for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education.

“This film is powerful,” says North Quabbin Energy organizer Diane Nassif, “speaking to issues affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of gas customers. It also relates to on-going citizen efforts to stop construction of fracked gas pipelines throughout the state and beyond.”

Discussion after the film will be led by special guest Nathan Phillips. An expert interviewed in the film, Dr. Phillips is a professor at Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences. His research was the first of its kind to map gas leaks in a major city (Boston).

Lilly Lombard, Sierra Club activist and mother of one of the student filmmakers, will also attend the showing and discussion.

The event is free of charge, all are welcome, but the library requires registration. Please register by calling 978-249-9515.

Leah Plath, Four Rivers English teacher on Under Pressure:

This film explores the complex truth of natural gas as an energy source as well as the struggles of local families and small businesses as they attempt to rebuild their lives after disaster. We also tell the "behind the scenes" story of the students' work creating the film in "Under Deadline," available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ92a...

The trailer to Under Pressure can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCYEVXwDrPk